Words God Speaks Through Nature: Death & Resurrection

September 4, 2018

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”  (Psalm 19:1-2)

At the end of summer we approach the threshold of beautiful fall colors in the trees all around us.  As you enjoy the explosion of colors this year consider the words God speaks to us through nature every fall.

Since fall’s beautiful colors are produced by the death of leaves, the word God is speaking to us is that death can be beautiful.  In many ways the most beautiful reality you and I encounter in our three or four score years on earth is the death of our Lord Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to experience salvation and enter heaven.

The Apostle Paul tells us the Gospel is that Christ died so we might live – and now it is our turn. We must die (to ourselves) so Christ may live through us. (Galatians 2:20) That means our deaths to ourselves can be beautiful.

Every spring God speaks another word to us. That word is seen through all the resurrection around us as we see black trunks and bare branches of trees we thought were dead sprout to life and bloom.

The Latin root meaning of the word rehabilitation is “to invest again with dignity.”

Do we have the faith to believe God can bring to life that which we thought was dead?  Can we apply that thought to our own lives, to the lives of our children, and to people we know and love?

Dick Woodward, 04 September 2012


Keeping Our Eyes On Jesus

October 13, 2017

 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

When the ultimate terminal illness comes to an eagle, it climbs to the highest possible elevation and looks into the sun for an entire day. When the sun goes down that evening, the eagle dies.

Have you ever seen an eagle disciple of Jesus Christ die? I first started believing the Gospel when I watched my mother die. She died looking right into the Son. Our godly pastor, who had seen scores of saintly ones go home, said he never had seen anything like what he witnessed with us that night.

At the age of 49, my mother left behind six daughters, five sons and a husband. She spent the last two hours of her life with us, but she was already in heaven. She was talking to Jesus. She often said she never had any peace. We had a little house of thirteen hundred square feet with 13 people living in it, so you can understand why she had precious little peace and quiet. In those last hours she kept saying, “Oh, this peace, this peace!” Several times she started to share something but said, “I can’t tell you about that.”

The Apostle Paul described something similar in 2 Corinthians 12, when he tells us he was caught up into the third heaven, saw many things, but said essentially, “I can’t tell you about that.”

I believed intellectually at my mother’s death when I was 14, but I did not become a disciple of Jesus Christ for several years. I delayed my decision because I knew believing involved commitment. I knew this because my mother had said to me:

“If Jesus Christ is anything to you, Dick, He is everything to you. Because, until Jesus is everything to you, He isn’t really anything to you.”

My life changed forever because she lived and died as an eagle disciple of Jesus Christ. Those closest to us may also become believers as they see us live and die with our eyes on Jesus Christ.

Dick Woodward, As Eagles: How to Be an Eagle Disciple


Psalm 23: To it, or Through it?

November 1, 2016

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  (Psalm 23:4)

The great Shepherd psalm of David is the most familiar chapter in the Bible.  It is loved by Jews, Catholics and all shades and grades of Protestants.  Psalm 23 is the greatest description ever written of what the relationship between God and humankind can be.

After declaring that his God makes him lie down in green pastures and leads him beside still waters, David also declares there to be times when he finds himself in a valley that is so dark it is like the shadow of death.  However, he is comforted by the staff of his Shepherd.  He is referencing the confidence he has in the ability of his Shepherd to lead him through that valley, not just to that valley.

He is also comforted by the rod of his Shepherd.  A shepherd uses a rod as a defensive weapon to keep predators away from the sheep.  David is saying here that he has great confidence in the ability of his Shepherd to protect him from anything he might encounter in that valley.

The bottom line: David knows his Shepherd God can not only lead him to a valley, but through that valley.

Are you in a valley right now?  If you are, realize your Shepherd God wants to lead you through your valley.  Trust God’s perfect ability to lead and protect you all the way through your valley.

Faith nearly always involves choices.  The choice is yours. So, which is it going to be?

Is it going to be “To it, or through it?”

Dick Woodward, 16 March 2013


In Sickness & in Death

August 12, 2014

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live…”  (John 11:25)

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 11, we read that Jesus loved Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha.  As Jesus ministered in the area of Jordan, He received word that Lazarus was sick. Jesus deliberately stayed where He was for two days. When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, what He really wanted from these two sisters was their response to life’s two most unsolvable problems – sickness and death.

The two sisters are very different. Martha runs out to meet Jesus and says, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died!” We don’t know the inflection in Martha’s voice, but it seems like she was saying, “Where were You?”

Mary is not like Martha. She waits until Jesus sends for her. When she has her personal time with Jesus, she says the exact same words. However, we read that she ‘fell at His feet.’  Mary is mentioned several times in the Gospels and she is always at the feet of Jesus. The first time is when she and Martha were entertaining Jesus. Mary was at His feet, hearing His Word… In this story Mary is at the feet of Jesus accepting His will.  In the next chapter (John 12) she is at His feet worshiping Him.

When sickness and death enter our lives, as they surely will, what God wants from you and me is the right response, which is an intimate relationship to the risen Christ Who lives in our hearts.  If we are at His feet hearing His Word and accepting His will, then, like Mary, we will also respond to these two unavoidable and inescapable problems by by showing our acceptance of them, at His feet, worshiping our Lord.

Dick Woodward, from 30 Biblical Reasons Why God’s People Suffer


The Great Shepherd

April 22, 2012

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”    (Psalm 23: 1-3)

These are some of the most familiar words in the Bible loved by Protestants, Catholics and Jews.  They describe our relationship with God.  They tell us that when God is our Shepherd we have green pastures, still waters and a full cup that never empties.  This is because our great Shepherd makes us lie down.  He may use problems we cannot solve to make us lie down.  However, since we are creatures of choice we can choose to get up again.  When we do our green pastures turn brown and our cup empties again.  He then restores our soul by driving us into the paths of righteousness that restore us.

Many devout souls also love this psalm because they see in it a description of a believer’s death.  To them death is the great Shepherd coming into a life for the last time making a devout person lie down so He can give them the green pastures that never turn brown and the full cup that never empties in the eternal state.  The only way He can give us these eternal blessings is to make us lie down in death.

The key to these eternal blessings is found in the opening words of the psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Meditate on these words one word at a time.  They are the key to living here and in the hereafter.  Can you say that He is your Shepherd today and always?